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Winter storm dumps over 20 inches of snow on Virginia

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 4:02 PM GMT on March 07, 2013

The heaviest snows are now over for the very wet Winter Storm Saturn, which dumped 6+" of snow on fourteen states this week, from North Dakota to Virginia. The deepest snows fell in the Appalachian Mountains of western Virginia and eastern West Virginia, where a number of locations received over twenty inches. The top snow-getter was Franklin, West Virginia, with 24". At least three more states will join the 6+" snow club on Thursday, as Boston, MA, Providence, RI, and New London, CT are all expected to get 4 - 8" of snow. A mere 0.2" of snow fell at Washington D.C.'s Reagan Airport, despite predictions early in the morning that the city would receive 8 - 10" of snow. The storm, dubbed "Snowquester" by the Washington Post, is now being called "Noquester" after the forecast bust. Western suburbs of D.C. just twenty miles from the city got up to 6" of snow, though, with 3.3" recorded at Dulles Airport.


Figure 1. MODIS satellite image of Winter Storm Saturn/Snowquester at 2:55 pm EST March 6, 2013, from NASA's Aqua satellite. Image credit: NASA.

According to NOAA's latest storm summary, here are the top snowfall amounts for the fourteen states that received 6+" of snow:

...IOWA...
NEW HAMPTON 8.6

...ILLINOIS...
LA GRANGE PARK 11.0

...INDIANA...
NORTH WEBSTER 11.0

...MARYLAND...
FROSTBURG 12.5

...MICHIGAN...
SAWYER 9.5

...MINNESOTA...
BIGFORK 13.2

...MONTANA...
ROCKY BOY 24.0

...NORTH CAROLINA...
BRYSON CITY 6.0

...NORTH DAKOTA...
LANGDON 15.0

...OHIO...
BELLEFONTAINE 9.0

...PENNSYLVANIA...
NEW KENSINGTON 12.0

...VIRGINIA...
FISHERSVILLE 20.3

...WISCONSIN...
INDEPENDENCE 9.0

...WEST VIRGINIA...
FRANKLIN 24.0

Coastal flooding in Delaware floods Highway 1; flooding in Massachusetts a concern
The storm brought high winds and a storm surge of 2 - 4' to the shores of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York, causing moderate flooding to many of the beaches battered by Hurricane Sandy in October. The top wind gust was 64 mph at Tuckerton, NJ. The streets of Sea Bright and Highlands in New Jersey flooded during high tide Wednesday, and a 4.1' storm surge hit the Delaware coast near Lewes, driving water levels to 2.8' above the high tide mark. The storm surge, topped by high, battering waves, caused severe erosion and broke through a barrier dune north of the Indian River Inlet Bridge, inundating the coastal highway, Route 1, between Dewey Beach and Bethany Beach. As the storm moves eastwards, it will bring moderate flooding during the Thursday evening and Friday morning high tide cycles along large portions of the Eastern Massachusetts coast. Sandwich Harbor and Nantucket Island are both predicted to receive major coastal flooding on Friday morning, with storm surges of up to 3.8' and waves offshore of up to 29'. Winds gusts of 68 mph were observed at Hyannis and Harwichport on Massachusetts' Cape Cod this Thursday morning.


Figure 2. Coastal flooding on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, in Norfolk, Virginia, thanks to Winter Storm Saturn. Image credit: Martin Cornick.


Figure 3. Coastal flooding prediction made at 5 am EDT Thursday March 7, 2013 for the Friday morning high tide cycle. Sandwich Harbor and Nantucket Island are boost predicted to receive major coastal flooding, with storm surges of up to 3.8' and waves offshore of up to 29'. NWS Boston.

We'll have ongoing coverage this week of Winter Storm Saturn in our Winter Storm Section. You can track current storm surge levels using our wundermap with the storm surge layer turned on.

Jeff Masters
Lots of Action!
Lots of Action!
Wave after wave was pounding against the seawall at high tide, so I just kept backing up the car. Sure didn't want to go to work and miss all this fun, though!
pristine
pristine

Winter Weather Saturn

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
GFS won this battle over NAM and ECWMF....not out to sea like the ECMWF wanted.

Where for? Certainly not the NE.
snowing heavily here...

2 snowplows came by few hours ago bumped lots of salt, some streets clean..for now


last night
just keep snowing

Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Where for? Certainly not the NE.


why not? The GFS began bringing the now here...certainly not the EURO, it kept it south of NYC
Hey Masters, the Front Range gets snow dumped on it, too. Why does so much attention go to analyzing the Atlantic Coast storms, while the west goes unmentioned? I understand there are more people there, but the Rocky Mountain storms are generally much more impressive in terms of statistics. How about some love?
As that second disturbance began phasing with our storm, it resulted in an oblong mid-level circulation shaped somewhat like a football. Because the length of this "football" extends so far back to the coast, forcing is occurring on the backside of our storm just like a storm much closer, which can be seen on 700 mb vertical velocity.

this is pretty scary..why waste money like that building on there?

Sandra's trying to get its inner core together, not bad but still a bit of work to do:

Lol on TWC there having too march fun
Quoting Neapolitan:
I was on board with the writer for some point until she veered off into her silly diatribe against the naming of winter storms. Gripe about TWC's forays into "reality" programming, sure; there are times of the day that every cable TV channel is indistinguishable from every other channel due to a sad overreliance on such cheesy and cheaply-produced shows. But conflating that issue with TWC's very helpful winter storm naming convention seems like a completely unnecessary digression.

(I'm still waiting for someone to tell me why they're okay with the oft-despised UN both naming, and retiring the names of, tropical cyclones, yet they seethe with rage at a US corporation doing the same with winter storms in a completely non-authoritative way. Anyone?)


Naming for tropical systems was adopted to avoid confusion for mariners and for other such purposes, in case there were two at the same time. Retiring was done for emotional reasons.

It is an inter-governmental decision on how and what to name tropical storms.

What TWC does with winter storms looks and feels more like a joke or a marketing ploy.

Non-authoritarian is the biggest problem with it, because they don't have any real standards or significance, and the vast, vast majority of these storms are in no way comparable to tropical cyclones destruction anyway, so it's just completely out of place.

NWS can be held to some form of accountability. A corporation typically cannot, for example, advertisement agencies can tell just about any lie imaginable about their product on television, and the government never does anything to stop it. So who's going to hold TWC accountable for their "cry wolf" syndrome BS with storms that aren't even noteworthy, when it desensitizes people to the "named storms" during the tropical season?


There'll end up being some screw-up and a law suit out of it eventually. Just wait for it and give it a few years.

You'll get:

"I thought it was just another named storm. I had no idea it was going to destroy . They didn't tell us it was going to be worse than Winter Storm Saturn. Oh wait, you mean those weren't officially named storms from the NWS and the global community? Who made that call? Let's sue..."
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


why not? The GFS began bringing the now here...certainly not the EURO, it kept it south of NYC

GFS was doing pretty well until about a day before the storm- it shifted way east, kept most of the moisture offshore, and I don't think it showed anyone getting double digit snowfall. Euro was too far offshore, I agree with that, but it got plenty of snow into eastern MA, just not into central MA. NAM was excellent, it was the only model to consistently get the moisture in here. GFS finally caught on again yesterday morning, but that's too late in my book, the storm was already well underway by then.
512. VR46L
Quoting Neapolitan:
I was on board with the writer for some point until she veered off into her silly diatribe against the naming of winter storms. Gripe about TWC's forays into "reality" programming, sure; there are times of the day that every cable TV channel is indistinguishable from every other channel due to a sad overreliance on such cheesy and cheaply-produced shows. But conflating that issue with TWC's very helpful winter storm naming convention seems like a completely unnecessary digression.

(I'm still waiting for someone to tell me why they're okay with the oft-despised UN both naming, and retiring the names of, tropical cyclones, yet they seethe with rage at a US corporation doing the same with winter storms in a completely non-authoritative way. Anyone?)


I will bite, little to do for a few minutes !

1) The NWS/NHC is the offical weather service of your Country ! Therefore the lead should be taken from them !
2) with only one large corporate Business naming the storms leads to confusion .. Some folk will think because its named they have the equivalent to a hurricane /tropical storm ... Ask anyone from DC what they think of the storm naming hype right now!

3) Boy who cried wolf syndrome ! The chances are people with less weather knowledge may start taking Tropical storms and hurricane more lightly because every puff of cloud that headed towards D.C /NY got named by TWC this winter .

4 The fact they didn't name some more severe storms in more isolated areas means they did not have an established criteria except to hype and attract ratings figures in populated areas !

5 Hurricanes and TS are more dangerous and therefore a way to point out they are is via naming them.

There are other reasons that if I sat down and thought futher I could come up with . I really Don't get why you are in so much favour of the naming of them as they make so little sense to so many people . Apart from you and some like minded folk the only people who like the idea are the young met storm trackers as its a name they can apply to the storms . But most of them question why some storms are named and others are not..


Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
this is pretty scary..why waste money like that building on there?

+ 10....at least..:)
Chicago area get ready for the next one..whew.....
alot of moisture with this next front coming.......
It just never ends! It seems like there is an endless, unlimited stream of moisture pouring in off the Atlantic Ocean. Extremely heavy band passing over Boston and the coast now, moving west.
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